Lowest U.S. Birth Rate Caused by Drop in Immigrant Births


A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that a drop in immigrant births due to the America’s economic slump caused the 2011 U.S. birth rate to be the lowest ever recorded.
The report found that the birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6 percent from 2007 to 2010, but the birth rate for foreign-born women decreased 14 percent. The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women declined 23 percent.
While the birth rate declined, the number of U.S. births also dropped, once again driven by a sharp drop in immigrant births. From 2007 to 2010, the overall number of births declined 7 percent. There was a 13 percent decrease in births to immigrants.
The decrease in the number of births to immigrant women is due to behavior, not the makeup of the population, according to the study, and the Pew Research analysis found no decline in the number of foreign-born women of childbearing age. A previous Pew report found that the recent fertility decline is directly tied to declining economic circumstances. Poverty and unemployment after the country’s recession began grew more for Latinos than for non-Latinos, according to the report.
The report also found that:

  • Despite the recent decline, foreign-born mothers continue to give birth to a disproportionate share of the nation’s newborns, as they have for at least the past two decades. The 23% share of all births to foreign-born mothers in 2010 was higher than the 13% immigrant share of the U.S. population, and higher than the 17% share of women ages 15-44 who are immigrants.
  • Foreign- and U.S.-born Latino women had larger birth rate declines from 2007 to 2010 than did other groups.
  •  Immigrants make up 33 percent of births to women ages 35 and older.
  • The share of births to unmarried mothers is higher for U.S.-born women, at 42 percent, than for immigrant women, at 36 percent.
  • Pew researchers estimate that immigrants coming to the U.S. since 2005 will account for 82 percent of U.S. population growth by 2050.